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the Urban Indian Experience in America

the Urban Indian Experience in America - Warning Concerning...

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Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law. Printing note: If you do not want to print this page, select pages 2 to the end on the print dialog screen. Mann Library fax: 607 255-0318 www.mannlib.cornell.edu
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The Urban Indian Experience in America Donald L. Fixico University of New Mexico Press Albuquerque
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§ Introduction For several days, rain had fallen on the Dakota plains, drenching the roads and muddying the fields on Pine Ridge Reservation. Through the window of his frame house, a young war veteran looked toward the east. He saw nothing because thoughts of what might lie ahead for him cluttered his mind. This morning, during a cold December in 1952, he would begin his journey to find a job and a new home in Chicago. During the Second World War, which seemed only yesterday, he had visited the large city. After returning from Europe, the city was a welcome sight. Taken captive by the Germans, his courage and endurance had been tested by the enemy. Now, a new life awaited him in Illinois, beginning as soon as he could finish pack- ing his suitcase. The hard part was saying goodbye to his mother. Saying goodbye to Pine Ridge, too, was not easy. This was his reservation in South Dakota, where he grew up; it was a part of him. Dad had died from alco- holism, so young, in his thirties. But the grandparents filled this void in the Lakota veteran's life when someone older was needed to talk to. And, there was his uncle, Albert, whom he could always talk to. Embracing his mother as tears streamed down her face, he said goodbye for what might seem to be the last time. Hesitating, the Lakota veteran picked up his suitcase, adjusted the top buttoned part of his coat while clutching it, and began the long seven-mile walk into town to catch a bus that would take him to Chicago. Endless thoughts of childhood days on the reservation, interrupted by flashing memories of the war, raced through his mind. Consumed by the past, the coldness of the gray-clouded morning
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2 Introduction seemed not to exist. This road would take him to a new life, "a better life" said the relocation officer. As he left his world behind him, the future seemed uncertain. Working and living in a big city would be considerably different from life on the reservation.
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